Crystal Lake South took Cary Grove's best shot, got off the canvas then proceeded to win the match.
Led by a 9-killm 4-block effort from junior Nicole Slimko, the Gators held off the upset-minded Trojans 25-17, 25-20 in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division girls volleyball action in Cary Thursday night.
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"Cary-Grove was a much better team than the first time we played them," said Slimko. "They came out with a lot of fire and we had to keep our poise when they got some momentum. We were able to stay out of any deep holes. We put a lot of practice and hard work in to prepare for this match. The hard work paid off. It was a great win."
Sophomore outside hitter Carly Nolan backed up Slimko with 7 kills and Avalon Nero collected 6 kills with 4 blocks. Setter Lindsey Murphy distributed 24 assists.
Defensively, senior Nicole Jurkash had 12 digs for the winners.
"We showed growth and maturity tonight," said South coach Jorie Fontana. "When Cary-Grove came at us hard we kept our poise. We haven't always done that this year. I am proud of our team. We beat a Cary-Grove team which has got much better and played a great match. It was a hard-earned win."
In Game 1, South (19-6, 6-1) never trailed in grabbing a 1-0 lead in the match. Holding a 22-17 advantage, the Gators scored the final 3 points on kills by Slimko, Nolan and Kylie Portera.
The Trojans (10-9, 3-4) started Game 2 with every intention of tying the match. Led by 3 kills from Alex Larsen, Cary-Grove catapulted to a 6-1 lead.
But Crystal Lake South battled back to tie the game at 12 on a kill by Nero. The Gators seized the lead for good, 17-16 on a kill by Slimko.
Finishing the game and match on a 10-4 run, the Gators polished off the Trojans on a kill by Portera.
Larsen paced Cary-Grove with 8 kills while Jess Bartczyszyn collected 18 assists while Micah Duzey contributed 10 digs.
"We are getting better and improving every match," said Patty Langanis. "The effort tonight was excellent. Alex had an amazing match. We have gotten better as a team, but so has South They have a strong offense with so many weapons. They are a very good team."